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Good guy Max Papis lands part-time Cup ride

NASCAR Sprint
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

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Max Papis and his Geico sponsored Cup car
Widely regarded as one of the most versatile racecar drivers in the world, ‘Mad’ Max Papis will add to his already impressive resume as he slides behind the wheel of the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The former Formula 1 driver and 2004 Rolex Grand Am Series Champion will lead the way for GEICO as they make their maiden voyage into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after spending eight years in NASCAR’s number two series.

While GEICO has sponsored a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races over the years, this will be their first Cup-focused race program. GEICO Racing launched with a single race sponsorship at Richmond International Raceway on May 2, 2001. Through the years and a myriad of sponsorships among NASCAR’s top three series, GEICO Racing has evolved into a full-time racing and marketing program that is experiencing great success and commanding national attention.

Recognized for a vast marketing strategy that fully encompasses their entire race program, GEICO has signed a four year sponsorship agreement with Germain Racing that will find the Gecko adorning the hood of the #13 Germain Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry for 18 races per season beginning in 2009.

Max Papis was born in Como, Italy, and now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina. He has made over 100 open wheel race starts, including two prior Indianapolis 500 starts, while also serving as a test driver for NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports. Papis has also competed in NASCAR’s number two Series, where he recorded a third place finish on August 4, 2007 in Montreal.

“We’re very happy with our decision to make the jump to the Sprint Cup Series with Max Papis,” stated Ted Ward, GEICO ’s vice president of marketing. “Max is an intense guy who lines up with our corporate values of character and integrity, while also possessing an unparalleled amount of passion and enthusiasm. His personality is a proper fit for our marketing strategy and will serve us well as we move forward with our Sprint Cup Series marketing platform.”

Aside from recording three wins in the former CART Series, Papis has been one of the top competitors in American sports car racing. He posted wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000 and 2002 as well as a Grand-American Rolex Sports Car Series championship in 2004. As a member of GM’s Corvette Racing team, Papis has recorded two wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans as well as two runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Papis, who is the son-in-law of legendary racecar driver Emerson Fittipaldi, is focused on the future and appreciates the opportunity to drive the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry. “This is a dream come true and I’m grateful to GEICO for giving me this opportunity to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I look forward to representing their company and helping to expand an already huge marketing program,” Papis said. “My family and I have been working on this for the last five years and I’m proud that it’s happening with GEICO. We share the same passion for life, integrity and moral character, and I’m looking forward to this great new chapter of my life.” He continued, “I will give all I have in my heart to make our program successful and I’m proud to be a part of the GEICO Racing family. It also brings me great pride to have the opportunity to represent my native country Italy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.”

In order to gain valuable experience, the GEICO Racing team will debut their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2008, in the Dickies 500. They will subsequently participate in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale on November 16, 2008, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford 400.

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